Strong female characters

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InklingBooks
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Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:36 pm Post

There's an interesting article on strong female characters here:

http://thedissolve.com/features/exposit ... ers-to-tr/

it's about films, but what of what it says can apply to books.

My complaint would be that too many are trying to make strong females out of a set of specifications best suited to men (i.e. physical strength, meanness or toughness). The result isn't believable or appealing to most men or women.

--Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily's Ride

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Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:56 pm Post

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Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:05 pm Post

Strong female characters? You mean like Bathsheba Everdene, Cathy Earnshaw, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett, Jo March, Anne of Green Gables, Karen Blixen, that Dragon Tattoo chick, Scout Finch, Miss Jane Marple, Hester Prynne, Emma Bovary, Mrs. Bishop Proudie, Martha Dunstable (the Ointment Queen), and the forever-formidable Captain Nancy Blackett?

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nom
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Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:24 am Post

Ahab wrote:Strong female characters? You mean like Bathsheba Everdene, Cathy Earnshaw, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett, Jo March, Anne of Green Gables, Karen Blixen, that Dragon Tattoo chick, Scout Finch, Miss Jane Marple, Hester Prynne, Emma Bovary, Mrs. Bishop Proudie, Martha Dunstable (the Ointment Queen), and the forever-formidable Captain Nancy Blackett?


You left out Granny Weatherwax.
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Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:43 am Post

How on earth, can you not include, Mum-n-Maud and Belinda Balloons?!! :shock:
Defies logic!

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Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:09 pm Post

How about the Bechdel Test?

Only watch a movie if it satisfies the following requirements:

(1) It has to have at least two [named] women in it,
(2) who talk to each other,
(3) about something besides a man.
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Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:21 pm Post

nom wrote:
Ahab wrote:Strong female characters? You mean like Bathsheba Everdene, Cathy Earnshaw, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett, Jo March, Anne of Green Gables, Karen Blixen, that Dragon Tattoo chick, Scout Finch, Miss Jane Marple, Hester Prynne, Emma Bovary, Mrs. Bishop Proudie, Martha Dunstable (the Ointment Queen), and the forever-formidable Captain Nancy Blackett?


You left out Granny Weatherwax.


And Ma Kettle.

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Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:52 pm Post

Ahab wrote:
nom wrote:
Ahab wrote:Strong female characters? You mean like Bathsheba Everdene, Cathy Earnshaw, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett, Jo March, Anne of Green Gables, Karen Blixen, that Dragon Tattoo chick, Scout Finch, Miss Jane Marple, Hester Prynne, Emma Bovary, Mrs. Bishop Proudie, Martha Dunstable (the Ointment Queen), and the forever-formidable Captain Nancy Blackett?


You left out Granny Weatherwax.


And Ma Kettle.

And granny ClampettImage
And Old Mother Riley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz2dMZjT-oA

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Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:38 am Post

vic-k wrote:How on earth, can you not include, Mum-n-Maud and Belinda Balloons?!! :shock:
Defies logic!

Bewildered of Stockport. :?


Sometimes the obvious doesn't need to be said.
Besides, the less said about Mum'n'Maude the better*. :roll:

*Maude was very clear about this.
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Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:56 am Post

nom wrote:Sometimes the obvious doesn't need to be said.
Besides, the less said about Mum'n'Maude the better*.

*Maude was very clear about this.
:? Thought they were attention seekers. Shy and retiring aren't personality traits I'd readily associate with them two Bimbos. Shows y', dunit, even I can be wrong?
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Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:04 pm Post

vic-k wrote:
nom wrote:Sometimes the obvious doesn't need to be said.
Besides, the less said about Mum'n'Maude the better*.

*Maude was very clear about this.
:? Thought they were attention seekers. Shy and retiring aren't personality traits I'd readily associate with them two Bimbos. Shows y', dunit, even I can be wrong?


I doubt Maude's outburst (including rather specific and original threats to my physical wellbeing) were because of any sense of humility. I suspect it's because Aunty Maude may have, shall we say, "other" reasons for wanting to leave the country that lead to her strong preference to avoid bringing additional attention to her possible location. Allegedly.

As for Mum... she knows where I live, and I have no idea who I know that she knows. So yes: shy & retiring sounds about right. In these circumstances, I'd go so far as to say it's a perfect description.
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Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:09 pm Post

nom wrote:As for Mum... she knows where I live, and I have no idea who I know that she knows. So yes: shy & retiring sounds about right. In these circumstances, I'd go so far as to say it's a perfect description.

Pathetic Wimp!!
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nom
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Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:18 pm Post

But back on topic...
InklingBooks wrote:There's an interesting article on strong female characters here:

http://thedissolve.com/features/exposit ... ers-to-tr/

it's about films, but what of what it says can apply to books.


Good article, identifies why I've felt uneasy about many of the films (and quite a few books) I've read but not been able to clearly articulate for myself.

InklingBooks wrote:My complaint would be that too many are trying to make strong females out of a set of specifications best suited to men (i.e. physical strength, meanness or toughness). The result isn't believable or appealing to most men or women.

--Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily's Ride


This is part of the reason Granny Weatherwax is one of my all time favourite fictional characters. She is strong willed (incredibly strong willed) and is the hero of many Terry Pratchett's books. And she is a witch. An old crone. A wart-covered wrangler of "female" magic. With this character, Terry Pratchett manages to highlight sexism without succumbing to it. As a character, Granny Weatherwax demonstrates that strength doesn't have to be aggressive or violent, it can rooted in caring about others. Of course she's a flawed character - full of pride and quick to temper - but her intelligence, wit and resourcefulness are inspirational. The fact that she is sexless could be seen as a downside, as submitting to stereotype, but it is more than made up for by her friend and colleague Nanny Ogg.
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Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:27 pm Post

vic-k wrote:
nom wrote:As for Mum... she knows where I live, and I have no idea who I know that she knows. So yes: shy & retiring sounds about right. In these circumstances, I'd go so far as to say it's a perfect description.

Pathetic Wimp!!


Maybe, but you haven't met my Mum.
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Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:29 pm Post

In no particular order...

    Catherine Trammel in Basic Instinct

    Brigid O'Shaughnessy in The Maltese Falcon

    Victoria Grant in Victor Victoria

    Rose Sayer in The African Queen

    Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada

    Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction

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